W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-validator@w3.org > July 2003

Re: Idea for the validators

From: Philip TAYLOR [PC336/H-XP] <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2003 21:59:35 +0100
Message-ID: <3F26E037.7C688A0F@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
To: Eric Anderson <anderson@cs.uoregon.edu>
CC: "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>, www-validator@w3.org, cirrus <cirrus@linuxgames.com>

I've been watching this thread silently for some time,
and I /do/ think that there is a valid point : I agree
with Eric that the seal-of-approval is no bad thing
in itself, but I also think that the original poster
had a point when he suggested that, rather than link
to the validator itself, it link to a purpose-written
web page (which would, of course, link to the validator
somewhere in itself).  As to the contents of that page,
it might start somewhat along the following lines :

Valid HTML !

The page from which you have just come claims to be valid HTML.  

Why does this matter ?  Well, the page forms a part (a very small 
part !) of the World-Wide Web.  And in order for that Web to function
properly, each part of it must follow some basic rules.  The rules
for web pages are pretty simple : they must contain only certain
tags, the tags must be used only in permitted contexts, and "funny"
characters must be represented in a well-defined way.  The situation
is made slightly more complex by there being more than one possible
set of rules, but each web page is required to commence with a line
which references the rule-set to which the page claims to adhere.

Who sets these rules ?  They are, in the main, set by the World-Wide
Web Consortium (W3C), an orgnisation made up of representatives of
all the major players with an interest in the future of the Web.
Others /can/ create their own rule sets, and a page is perfectly
entitled to announce itself as "Valid HTML" if it conforms to such
a private rule-set (provided that it starts with a line which
unambiguously identifies that rule set and provides a link to it)
but in general it is far better to adhere to the rule-sets which
have been agreed by the W3C.

If you would like to learn more about the activities of the W3C, and
about the various rule-sets which they have, over time, promoted as
being the current standard for HTML, you should visit their 
<link>web site</>; you should, in particular, read what they have
to say about the <link>immediate future of HTML</>.  You might also
like to learn about <link>other standards</> which the W3C set, 
such as that for <link>HTTP</>, the protocol which is normally used 
to transfer web pages from a server to a client such as the machine 
on which you are reading this page.

If you would like to check whether your own web pages are 
"Valid HTML", you should visit the <link>W3C validator</>; if
they /are/ valid, then why not link them to this page so that others,
too, can learn about the benefits of valid HTML.  If they don't,
then do your best to identify and correct the errors, and if you
get stuck, then there are <link>several resources</> (web sites, 
mailing lists, Usenet news groups and so forth) available to help you.

I'm sure it could say more (why, for example, adherence to published
standards is more important than "looking pretty" in one particular
browser) but I just wanted to suggest an idea for the content of the
page rather than flesh it out too fully.  Certainly the suggested
text is open to criticism as being too patronising, but if it serves to 
promote the idea that validation is vital, then that may be an acceptable
price to pay.

Philip Taylor, RHBNC
Received on Tuesday, 29 July 2003 16:59:15 UTC

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